Tips for fighting the winter blues


Julia Labban

The cold weather and lack of sunlight that plague Michigan this time of year can often leave people in a winter rut. In some serious cases, it can be classified as seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression that hits at certain times of the year. People can keep themselves from experiencing this sluggish and tired feeling with a few simple tips.

Be Active

Studies show that exercising can help people fight off winter blues by releasing chemicals into the brain that affect mood and stress hormones. Exercise can also help to regulate sleep so that people don’t feel the need to sleep in as much or feel that they are getting low quality sleep. Taking a walk in the municipal park, walking downtown, walking the dog, going to a gym and maybe even trying ice skating or skiing can help to keep your mind and body active.

Be Social

Winter blues can make people lazy and not want to do anything with friends. Staying social is important because it can help people feel energized from the interaction around them. Seeing a movie, going shopping, or doing some other form of activity together can give people a mood boost.

Get Some Sun

Brains often produce more serotonin when someone spends more time in the sun. Serotonin can help to lift mood, so spending some time outside is important to keep from feeling sluggish. If it’s too cold outside, sitting by a window or using a light box for severe symptoms can help to feel more refreshed.

Take Vitamin D

Lack of vitamin D has often been linked to depression-like symptoms, though definitive proof that not getting enough vitamin D can increase the probability of being depressed has not been found. Some doctors recommend taking a supplement or a slight change in diet (vitamin D can be found in fish) to possibly alter someone’s mood.